E2E 100 shines a spotlight on leading innovators and changemakers, promoting unique businesses and celebrating entrepreneurial excellence in the UK. Debbie Turner, Co-founder and Operations Director at DNASTREAM , has been recognised in the first E2E Female 100 list.
ESE Female 100 highlighting female-led businesses
The Female 100 showcases the fastest growing female-led companies by employee growth, from all over the UK and was launched at the House of Commons in March 2023. The aim is to highlight the ideas and drive for positive change of those selected, but also provides an opportunity to get under the skin of today’s business challenges.
This list highlights how well female-led businesses have done, contributing substantially to the UK economy despite often lacking significantly in funding compared to their male-led counterparts.
Recognising Debbie’s achievement
Debbie has more than 25 years of enterprise delivery and consulting experience, including many large programmes and numerous full-lifecycle implementation projects in various industry sectors including Public Sector, Financial Services and Utilities.
Debbie was born in Chatham in Kent and at the age of six moved to North Yorkshire due to her father’s job at the Power Stations. She has remained in Yorkshire most of her life and now lives by the sea on the East Coast. She feels very lucky to have had a fantastic childhood with her parents and sister. With a love of gymnastics, she spent most of her childhood in a track suit; she hated school with a passion so this was a great distraction. Debbie is married and has two stepchildren whom she adores.
Most of her life has been about setting goals and smashing them. However, increasingly, it’s the simple things in life that are far more important to her, like walking on the beach, having family over to stay or booking the next holiday. Recently she has rekindled a love of arts and crafts and DIY so there is always a project on the go. She has travelled extensively, for work and pleasure, and will do more of this when she retires (if that ever happens).
Debbie’s start in the IT world – the importance of a mentor
Not knowing what she wanted to do as a career, Debbie started out as a Housing Clerk at Selby District Council then moved to the dairy company MD Foods (now Arla Foods) as PA to the IT Director. Very soon afterwards, she was asked to join his IT team who were about to implement SAP (Full ERP) and she was offered the role as an Implementation Consultant. After a couple of years implementing the solution around the UK, she joined the SAP consultancy firm Team 121 Consulting, where she continued to build her skills and expertise in enterprise systems delivery.
As Debbie says, “I owe a lot to that IT director. He told me that I have more bottle than most people he knew. So really this is where my career and confidence started and I have never looked back.”
Career progression and founding DNASTREAM
Having made her way up from Functional Consultant to Solution Architect, then on to Project/Programme Management, Debbie joined SAP UK&I. However, after several years of travelling around the globe she felt it was time to step back and recharge. “My family missed me as I was never around, missing key gatherings and always feeling exhausted. I fully intended to take two years off, but that lasted a weekend. Andy Milner asked me to join him in the creation of DNASTREAM. DNASTREAM was formed and inducted in a pub in London. Our mantra was ‘we stop when we stop having fun’.“
Debbie’s unique skillset and earning respect
Throughout her career, Debbie has had to deal with many an issue. She became known as the ‘Fix It’ person, the one who could go into failing projects and turn them around. “As a woman in this industry I knew I had finally made it and was respected for my approach to solving issues and delivering projects. I’ve learnt a lot over the years, but the key things to success are honesty, fairness, ensuring everyone has a voice and learning to adjust the way of working based on your audience.”
Life as a founder
Debbie believes that you never stop learning and that valuable lessons can apply in business and everyday life. “Before I became co-founder in DNASTREAM I thought I had to work twice as hard as a man in this industry, but ‘real’ people don’t care what gender you are as long as you have honesty and integrity and you are content rich in your subject, this is what really matters.”